Under Florida state law, anyone in a traffic accident must stop at the scene, render aid to anyone who needs it, and provide personal information and insurance details to others involved in the crash and responding police officers. Anyone who unlawfully leaves the scene of an accident—or commits a “hit and run”—may face serious criminal consequences as well as civil liability for injuries and property damage stemming from the incident.
In order to bring a negligent driver to justice in this situation, though, police must know their identity and successfully track them down. Unfortunately, that does not happen. For this reason, seeking help from a qualified auto collision attorney at Distasio Law Firm after being involved in a hit and run car accident in Wesley Chapel is essential—especially if you suffered serious injuries that insurance alone may not cover.
Recovering Through Insurance After a Hit and Run
Because of Florida’s “no-fault” approach to car accident litigation, you will typically need to seek reimbursement through your own auto insurance coverage before you can file suit after any kind of accident—including one caused by a driver who fled the scene. The Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage that all drivers are required by law to purchase should cover at least 80 percent of medical expenses for all injuries you suffered in the wreck, up to policy limits.
If you have underinsured/uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage as part of your car insurance policy, you should also be able to seek payments through that plan following a hit and run car crash in Wesley Chapel. Notably, this type of coverage often covers a much wider variety of losses than PIP coverage, including:
- Lost work income or benefits
- Physical pain and suffering
- All past and future medical expenses not covered by PIP
- All car repair/replacement costs not covered by other insurance, plus other forms of accident-related property damage
While state law does not require motorists to purchase UIM coverage, it can be vital to recovering for losses caused by a hit and run driver. Either way, seeking compensation through your own insurance policy would be done on a “no-fault” basis, meaning you should not need to prove a specific person at fault for your wreck to receive payment.
What Happens if a Hit and Run Driver Is Never Found?
Anyone who suffers a “serious injury” through an auto accident in Florida can generally step outside the “no-fault” system and file suit directly against anyone who holds civil fault for the incident. However, if police cannot identify who crashed into you, you may not be able to pursue a lawsuit even though you have the right to do so under state law.
Fortunately, if you report your hit and run car accident to the Wesley Chapel police, you may be eligible to seek restitution from the Florida Crimes Compensation Trust Fund in the event the at-fault driver is never found. A seasoned auto accident lawyer like Scott Distasio could explain how this works in more detail during an initial consultation.
A Wesley Chapel Attorney Could Help You Seek Financial Recovery After a Hit and Run Car Accident
Florida law enforcement and the court system typically treat hit and run drivers harshly. In the meantime, though, you may still be dealing with serious injuries and losses caused by such a driver, and you may have limited options for seeking financial compensation.
Assistance from dependable legal counsel could be crucial to getting positive results from cases built around hit and run car accidents in Wesley Chapel. Call Distasio Law Firm today to learn more.